Maximize Hunting Potential – Train Your Puppy | Gun Dog

If you ask the right questions of your young bird dog, you’ll be surprised at how many answers he knows.The first call I made when I picked up Luna, my then 7-week-old black Lab, was to Tom Dokken.

Tom’s a good friend and an obvious source of dog training information, but I didn’t call him seeking advice. I just called him because I was excited to have a new dog.

He knew that, but he also knew that he’d done me the favor of reading a pile of pedigrees and locating Luna, so he was in a proxy sort of way, responsible for her upbringing.

So after we chatted for a bit, he asked me when my wife would be home with our twin daughters. I told him I had an hour before they would arrive and he simply said, “Good. You’ve got time to teach her to sit.”

I thought he was maybe a few kibbles short of a full bowl, but he went on to explain to me that it was go-time training-wise and that Luna would undoubtedly be able to learn plenty of commands in the next few weeks if I taught her correctly.

With a handful of puppy food and more than a bit of skepticism, I led Luna into my front yard and sat down with her in the grass. A few minutes later, she sat for the first time after having learned that when her butt hits the grass, a treat would hit her lips. As they say across the pond, I was “absolutely gobsmacked.”

Each week after that, Tom would call me up and tell me what I needed to do for the week. It was incredible and made me realize that we often don’t give our dogs nearly enough credit for what they are capable of learning and doing.

I know I had fallen into that trap in the past, but will never, ever again slip into that line of thinking. And you shouldn’t either.

The Time Is Now

When you order up a new pup, the excitement and anticipation is a special part of the process.

By pickup time, you’ve probably already decided that within a few months, you’ll start working with the dog so that by the time it’s a year old, you’ll be ready for all the upland world has to offer.

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